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Calls for Revenue to scrap 1890 number as some mobile networks charging 'out of bundle' prices

‘People often assume that it is a free telephone service until their credit runs out or when they receive their bill at the end of the month.’

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THE 1890 NUMBER for the Revenue Commissioners is out-of-bundle for some mobile customers, meaning they can get a shock when their bill arrives or even be cut off if using pay-as-you-go.

According to Money Guide Ireland in January, a 30 min daytime call to an 1890 number from a Vodafone or Three mobile would cost €9.00- €13.50.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McAuliffe is calling on the chairperson of the Revenue Commissioners to scrap the 1890 number.

“Members of the public are not necessarily aware that it is costing them a chunk of phone credit or running up a sizable bill to avail of Revenue services by phone line.

“Those who think they have unlimited calls to landlines with their network end up using credit or getting a surprise when they get their next phone bill because an 1890 call is ‘out-of-bundle’.

Often, those who are seeking to get in contact with this key public service assume that it is a free telephone service until their credit runs out or when they receive their bill at the end of the month.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for Revenue said, “We are focused on providing secure, easily accessible, convenient and user-friendly customer services.

“Given the scale of our telephone service, which answers an average of almost 2.5 million calls each year, the 1890 LoCall service is currently the best available option for providing service to customers who need to contact us by phone.

“However, we are aware that some customers who use the service are not being allowed LoCall rates by their telephone service providers, and we are actively seeking ways to reduce the cost burden for these customers.”

Online

Revenue added that it is enhancing its online services to reduce the need for customer telephone contact.

“Our new website, launched last year, is designed to help customers more easily find the information they are looking for.”

 

However McAuliffe said that in many instances it is just not feasible for customers to contact Revenue online.

It can be convenient to make tax arrangements or request information over the phone if on the go but when someone’s credit runs out mid-call they’ll be expected to follow up all over again.

He said government departments and State agencies should stop using these 1890 numbers or even lobby phone companies to include them in bundles.

Revenue said it expressed dissatisfaction at the rates telephone service providers charge their customers for 1890 calls at a public consultation held by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) last year and that it is “awaiting the outcome of the consultation process”.

It also said it’s “evaluating new telephony technology which will provide a robust, reliable and scalable telephone service that does not rely on 1890 architecture”.

“We are looking at options to use other technologies that will enable customers through their existing ‘inclusive packages’ to ‘phone’ Revenue from links in our website and mobile app, without incurring the 1890 telephone call charges.

“We envisage being in a position to launch some of these enhancements later this year.”

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